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Humberside Police’s Mental Health Ops Manager John Thirkettle: ‘The truth is that police officers are not best suited to support people with mental ill health’

Right Care, Right Person (RCRP) initiative

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The Right Care, Right Person (RCRP) initiative began in Humberside, and was subsequently supported by the UK Home Office as meriting introduction across England and Wales. In the fourth video in a PolicingTV series on RCRP, Humberside Police’s Mental Health Lead, John Thirkettle,

“I’ve been the mental health lead for the force for a number of years, and worked hard to improve the way we approach mental health”.

“The truth is that police officers are not the best [at supporting people with mental ill health], there are other specialists, other people around who have got much better skills [on this] than us. Could we not engage them to do that type of work instead of police officers, and therefore provide a better service to the public?”.

“It morphed quite quickly into a broader piece about health in general, so mental health quite specific, but we actually go to lots of other health-related issues”. 

“The general agreement from our partners [was] that… the police are needed in some circumstances – extreme cases of crisis management, at-risk behaviour, people putting themselves in danger or endangering others”.

“Everybody came to a clear decision that, where appropriate, the police should not attend some work, we should pass that on to mental health or health specialists, and they’re the people that should go”. 

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